Self-Publishing has become very popular today. Modern authors don’t hesitate in taking this initiative as the traditional publishers (are there anymore?) don’t show very much interest in their manuscript. A sweeping response from the traditional publishers comes that ‘new authors are seldom worthy of their gamble’ and it hurts the ‘literary ego’ of these authors with zeal to show the world what they have got – self-publishing happens! So, self-publishing, as it has become very popular and mainstream, isn’t anything to be ashamed of. People do self-publish; some fail and some shine. However, those who are worried about self-publishing should take care of a few key things before entering into such venture.
Today, I am pointing out a few important factors that authors should keep in mind before they decide to self-publish their hard-worked manuscript. Getting published, you do it from anywhere, is a very respectable act and there are certain responsibilities that an author should understand. More than individual responsibilities which relate to your content, there are also other things that you, as an author investing in your manuscript, should consider.
Choosing a Publisher: While choosing your ideal self-publisher, you need to be extremely careful. While self-publishing has become highly popular and opted service by the authors, there are many fake ones who use Google ads to attract their potential customers and fool them. If you look for ‘publish your book in India’ you will find only ads at the book beginning and possibly, you will fall for one of them. Before finalising your publisher, always make sure that you get feedback from random authors who might have used their services in the past. Then only you can get an idea about your target publisher. In most of the cases, in India (other countries not far), self-publishing companies promise a lot at the beginning and once you are published, you realise that you have been played by them and played badly. By that time, you have already invested and you can do nothing except promising to yourself that you will look for a better publisher next time or even stop writing! So, always choose a publisher who:
- Promises publishing at minimum cost
- Promises what seems probable and true
- Promises you reports on demand and have good feedback for it
and who doesn’t:
- Promise worldwide retail distribution (no one can do it)
- Promise marketing (they never do it)
- Promise media attention (they don’t care about it)
- Promise Ads – Google, Facebook etc (no use unless they do it right)
The bottom line is that you have to be realistic and careful. Find an ideal publisher who just promises to get your book published and sold on online retail websites like Amazon, Flipkart etc. They will cost lesser than these fake mammoths will cost you. You can spend rest of the budget by yourself.
Understanding the Market: Understanding the book market plays a very important role in your writing venture. If you lack here, you can seldom become successful. How does the book market function? How do the readers buy the book? How do the readers choose a book to read? How can you influence the readers? How can you get the readers’ attention on your book? These are the keys to your success as an author and therefore, rather than spending heavy on your publishing, you should spend a part of the budget on marketing your book, making a name for yourself and getting the readers to know you. This will help you in long run as well as instantly. Readers love to read the books by the authors who can be discovered, talked to and understood. So, rather than feeding the publishers for unnecessary things, you can spend the budget on your branding as an author and make yourself familiar with the readers.
Using Social Media Platforms: Are you on Twitter? Are you writing on Facebook? Are you using LinkedIn? Do you have a website? All these things become handly and extremely important when you decide to become an author. You need to become tech-savvy and use these essential elements of socialising and getting closer to your readers. Alternatively, you can let an expert or a dedicated book promotions company handle these things for you and you can concentrate on your writing alone.
Another side of media attention: This is a very common thing among the authors who are new. They want to become El James and Chetan Bhagats rather sooner. Just with the publication of very debut book, they want to be interviewed, written about and getting clicked here and there – becoming famous is their dream and that’s, usually, a dream of overnight success in most of the cases. However, you need to be careful, very careful. Spending a lot for media attention cannot be a good idea unless you are familiar with the readers, top book bloggers, and there is more than enough written about you on these platforms – book review websites, literary output websites, blogs, individual literary websites and so on. Once you a hit on the digital platforms, then only you should think of getting in the paper-media. Because people will cross-verify you on Google, dear authors!
Have Patience: And this is one last piece of advice for the self-published authors. Once your title is up for sale, you will certainly want people to buy it. You will certainly want to make more money with your book. Hold on; don’t lose patience if things aren’t that faster as you expected. It’s a kind of investment that you are making on your talent and it will pay off, gradually. Once it picks the pace and you nurture your talent in the right direction, you will have both – fame and money! So, if you have decided to be a self-published author, you need to have patience and also, faith in your talent.
With these key inputs, I wish to let the authors know that self-publishing isn’t that bad a choice. However, you need to extremely careful about the investment you make and the mediums you prefer. There is a large pond; there are many fishes. If you fish wisely, you will have your outcome!
by a contributor for LN (also self-published author)